Teacher Tips to Survive the Holidays

by | Nov 26, 2018

The holiday season is officially upon us. As the promise of an upcoming break looms educators everywhere prepare to face excited classrooms, restless energy, and decreased attention spans. No matter the age group you teach, it is undeniable that the holiday season impacts our students and therefore impacts our ability to do our jobs. So, Joy in Teaching has compiled a few practical tips to help you survive your holidays in the classroom and thrive on to the new year.

Keep Up Routines

Routine is important. Especially when everything begins to change around your students, when they know they won’t soon have the stability of school, and when there is a swirl of excitement in the air (think right before ANY break). This is not a time for fluff.

Although it is definitely harder to maintain the attention of your students during the holidays – it is also a time when you need to. Resisting the urge to pop in an irrelevant movie or announce “free time” even though teaching is extra tough and you are extra tired will pay off. The more you show your students that your expectations have changed – the more their behaviors will change to meet your expectations. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun activities planned, it just means that your job will be easier if you let your students know that break doesn’t start until after schools out.

Look Around You

It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic-ness of the holiday season. The hustle and bustle doesn’t stop at school but stretches into relationships and everyday activities. There are added stressors for everyone during the holidays and teachers feel it at home and work. However, there is also a lot of good all around us and sometimes we are too busy to notice. 

This holiday season allow yourself to slow down. Consciously prompt yourself, during those crazy times to look around and appreciate the moments. Even when you’re stressed, even when your student are wound up, even when your family drives you crazy – if you just slow down, look around, you will see the joy. Then take a deep breath and keep on going.

Teaching truly is the job that is never done. We never leave the classroom with every task accomplished, every need attended to – the days and weeks ahead of us completely planned and prepped, ready for us to just show up.

That’s just not reality. And not for lack of trying. 

No matter how early you come in or how late you stay, no matter how overflowing you teacher bag is as you lug it home or how awake you remain worried about your students at night – the next day will always come with at least a small voice whispering “Couldn’t you have done more?”.

Sure we work to quell that voice. And yes, there are those days where everything goes smooth and we feel like we are on top of the world, but most days there’s something that remains stuck in our craw, nagging at us – maybe it’s upcoming testing, or a student connection, mandates, grading, observations, professional development, parent communications, duties, meetings… It all adds up to teachers’ stress.

So, this week Joy in Teaching has compiled a list of a WHOPPING 50 RESILIENCE STRATEGIES to help curb that stress, fight burnout, and reclaim your joy! 

Don’t Forget You

The holidays are a time of thinking of others, of giving. But it can also be draining, especially to those in careers where self-lessness is taken for granted on a normal day. The holidays are wonderous, fun, and joyfilled, but also they are. a. lot. for. teachers. 
Don’t forget that you are no good to your students if you let yourself burnout. 

Take time for yourself. Do something for you. Don’t feel guilty staying home or treating yourself during this time. If you have introverted tendencies this can be an especially taxing time (Read more here). I know, “Self-care” is kind of a buzzword right now, but it is also an essential piece to your holiday survival kit. So please, when you are planning all your exciting activities festive projects – remember that you are also adding extra work and stress to your plate in an already potentially stressful time. Enjoy your holidays, and don’t forget you!


The holidays can be great fun to be a teacher and from Joy in Teaching, I wish you a joyful, healthful, and fulfilling season!

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